Thank you Ras Baraka and "May The Lord protect and defend you."... A Newark TeacherPro-public education Newark mayoral candidate Ras Baraka held a unique meeting with bloggers this past week before unveiling his education plan. Jersey Jazzman was there with some excellent analysis:
It speaks volumes about Ras Baraka's true commitment to Newark's children that he has cast these educational tourists aside in favor of those who have made it their life's work to either teach children or understand the dynamics that shape their lives. That alone ought to be enough for the good people of Newark to cast their vote for Baraka.... Jersey Jazzman, Shocking: Baraka Consults Knowledgable People on Education
Baraka is currently in a two-man race for mayor of Newark; in my view, it's probably the most interesting political contest in the country between now and the mid-term Congressional elections (yes, this Jersey boy is biased). Baraka's opponent, Shavar Jeffries, has become the de facto choice of the North Jersey political machine -- the same Democrats who have aligned themselves with Republican Governor Chris Christie.Ed Notes was invited but since it would cost me a chunk of my pension check to drive over the bridges to get to Jersey,
Ed Notes sent its ace correspondent, a real Newark teacher, to the meeting.
An Exciting Week for a Minor Teacher BloggerI'll close with one more from Jersey Jazzman.
Norm forwarded me an e-mail invitation for education bloggers to meet with Ras Baraka! I submitted a blog sample and I was included in an impressive group that included Bob Braun and Jersey Jazzman. I hit Baraka with some tough questions. I wanted to know what he as mayor could do to end the State of New Jersey's stranglehold on the Newark Public Schools. I posited that getting rid of Cami Anderson would merely result in a replacement Christie puppet. I questioned the usefulness of attendance at Advisory Board meetings taking into consideration that the body is powerless. Baraka is a strident orator reminiscent of the Civil Rights leaders of my youth. His cadences and word choices are mesmerizing. He believes that if stakeholders in the Newark education community and beyond unite and push back, Newark will regain control of the schools and foster democracy. Baraka stated that he invited bloggers because of their support of the suspended principals and the 2 Cedar Street employee that eventually pressured the Star-Ledger to pick up the story. He was hopeful that we would carry his education message to the public. I was honored to be in the illustrious company of those who share my concerns. Thank you Ras Baraka and "May The Lord protect and defend you."
A Newark Teacher
Bob Braun, who knows Jersey politics better than anyone, puts the mayoral race and Newarks' schools into context:Afterburn:
Newark’s voters won’t be able to stop Gov. Chris Christie’s plan to close and sell off the city’s neighborhood public schools and expand charters unless they elect Ras Baraka mayor. That is not an endorsement. That’s not even an opinion. That’s a fact. Baraka has turned the election into a referendum on Christie’s privatization policies and, if Baraka loses, the governor and his agent in Newark, Cami Anderson, will use his loss as a powerful argument to continue to bulldoze public schools in the city. Even if Baraka wins, it will just be the beginning of the effort to stop selling and closing Newark schools.
Why am I writing so much about Newark? Because as JJ points out this may be the current epicenter of the battle for public education. Baraka is much more clearly defined than de Blasio was in taking a stand for public ed and is opposed by the forces for ed deform. Watch enormous money pour into Newark to try to defeat Baraka. I may actually spend the big bucks to drive to Jersey one day to lend a hand.
Someone on JJ's blog asked what the teacher union is doing to help Baraka. Good point.
If you are watching the battle over tenure in California, and the cutting of pensions in Detroit, our own little spot of relative protection compared to others, even with de Blasio - who could always turn out to be a one term mayor - is not assured. The current agony over retroactive pay, in the overall context, may prove to be a minor player in the long run scheme of things. They want your high salaried jobs and your pensions. It may take longer here but the trend line is ominous, especially with the state of the union, where the dominant faction in New York State is probably going to take total control of NYSUT based in a large part on their claims that the current leadership is not sucking up enough to the anti-union blood sucking governor.
Be ever alert!
Newark Student Union & NJ Communities United Endorse Ras Baraka for Mayor